March 25th – The Day’s Most Fascinating News


The Internet makes our world seem smaller in some ways. But in others ways, the lives of humans remain amazingly remote from one another. Consider the distance between the seafood on your plate and the people who may have caught it; between your dinner and men in cages, whippings with toxic stingray tails, and 22 hour workdays. Three reporters from AP spent a year investigating how a “web of connections separates the fish we eat from the men who catch it, and obscures a brutal truth: Your seafood may come from slaves.”

+ And from MoJo: The people who pick your organic strawberries have had it with rat-infested camps.


Junk Bond

Heinz and Kraft are merging into one large food conglomerate. At long last, Bagel Bites, Lunchables, Velveeta, Tater Tots, and Kool-aid will be under one roof (other than mine). Given today’s food trends, the move is somewhat contrarian. Fortune’s Beth Kowitt and Jennifer Reingold wonder: Will betting on junk food be a winning strategy for the new Kraft Heinz?

+ Quartz: Scientists have engineered the food that will help save a starving, warming planet. (Sadly for Kraft Heinz, it contains no Cheese Whiz.)

+ WaPo: Scientists have discovered a simple way to cook rice that dramatically cuts the calories.


Time Served Not Enough

After a long investigation, “Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, the U.S. soldier who was recovered in Afghanistan last spring after five years in captivity, faces charges of desertion and misbehavior before the enemy.”


Playing the Oldies

So you’re a mostly terrestrial store like Toys ‘R’ Us. You’ve got the overhead associated with physical locations (and two apostrophes), and you’re getting beat on price by online competitors. What do you do? Get ready to take your kids to a play space at your local store.

+ It turns out some online brands are opening up offline locations. And they actually have goals similar to Toys ‘R’ Us. From AdAge: Online retailers are creating immersive brand experiences in the real world. “Come on kids. It’s a beautiful day. Let’s put down those iPads and go have an immersive brand experience.”


Brain Teasers

I’m not sure we needed the fMRI to prove it, but your brain feels pleasure when it finds something it wants to buy. And that pleasure gains steam if you can make the purchase for what seems like a cheap price. Stores are using that data to create offers you can’t refuse. From The Atlantic: The Neurological Pleasures of Fast Fashion. (I’ll settle for the neurological relief of wearing the same thing every day.)

+ Your brain better enjoy it while it lasts. The days of the 40 percent off sale could be numbered.


Sex Ed

“Wouldn’t it be interesting if you actually had a class where you sit with your parents and hear these things from someone? What if that class were fun and funny and interactive?” The NYT Mag on a new approach that uses openness and humor to make “The Talk” less dreadful parents and children. (I thought that’s what the Internet was for?)


Get the Message

At Facebook’s developer conference today, it was all about Facebook Messenger. The company is opening the platform for third parties to build apps and services on top of it. The move is a testament to how far Facebook has come when it comes to mobile, and how massive messaging apps have become.

+ Wired’s Jessi Hempel talks to Mark Zuckerberg who wants to help everyone move fast and help everyone make money. (Cool, those are two of my weak points.)


Don’t Bring Me Flowers Anymore

The number of political stories — from ISIS to upcoming elections — can seem overwhelming. And that’s before you include the story that’s been among the Washington Post’s most popular for several days: Former White House floral designer’s look may have clashed with first lady’s according to sources .


Direction Unknown

Zayn Malik Has Quit One Direction. I’m old and my kids are cool. So I have no idea what that means.

+ Buzzfeed: Dow falls more than 1% as Zayn leaves One Direction.


The Bottom of the News

Here’s a potential downside to renting out your property. Police in Milton discovered that someone renting a house had filled the drains with cement and wired the place to explode when someone flipped a light switch. According to Milton Police Chief Richard G. Wells Jr: Those behind the bomb “definitely had malicious intent in what they did.” I’m not in the law enforcement business, but I’m guessing he’s right.

+ Here’s a headline that sums up modern life: Local Chinese Restaurant Calls Out Dishonest Yelper With Surveillance Footage.

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